By Lt. Courtney Keiser, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15 Public Affairs
YOKOSUKA, JAPAN (April 8, 2016) – Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15 hosted a Surface Warfare Officer (SWO) Summit at Commander, Fleet Activities (FLEACT) Yokosuka, April 4-8.
More than 250 surface warfare officers from ten forward-deployed ships convened at the 3rd annual summit to discuss tactical procedures and learn about career opportunities in forums designed to improve knowledge and experience across the surface warfare community.
“Officers are tactical leaders; they are responsible for making critical decisions that could put warships in harm’s way to win a fight or bring the ships to safety,” said Capt. Christopher Sweeney, commanding officer of DESRON 15. “These officers lead teams of Sailors with incredible amounts of knowledge and must be able to process the mass amount of information to execute warfighting tactics. We, as leaders, are responsible for ensuring they have the ability to make the right tactical decisions.”
Guest speakers included Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery, Pacific Command Operations Officer (J3), Rear Adm. John Alexander, Commander, Battle Force 7th Fleet, Rear Adm. Jim Kilby, Commander, Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC), and Capt. Brad Cooper, Surface Warfare Distribution Division (PERS 41).
Rear Adm. Kilby and his team discussed the benefits of SMWDC. SMWDC trains junior surface warfare officers in advanced tactics to become Warfare Tactics Instructors (WTI) in amphibious warfare, anti-submarine warfare or surface warfare, as well as integrated air and missile defense. These WTIs are the tactical subject matter experts for ships and staffs and help their commands by teaching, writing, validating, and revising warfare procedures.
The group of officers also learned about Distributed Lethality, a philosophy introduced by Vice Adm. Thomas S. Rowden, Vice Adm. Peter Fanta, and Vice Adm. Peter A. Guamataotao. The concept has three basic tenets: “every ship is a shooter”, distribute offensive capability geographically, and ensure the right mix of resources to increase staying time in a fight. Distributing and enhancing offensive and defensive capability makes the U.S. Navy’s force more resilient.
“This week has been a great opportunity to learn about new tactics and weapons systems available to our ships and combat teams,” said Lt. j.g. Seth Simonds, warfare tactics instructor for anti-submarine warfare assigned to USS Chancellorsville (CG 62). “It is clear our leadership is invested in ensuring our success as warfighters.”
DESRON 15 is responsible for eight forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers and approximately three rotationally deployed destroyers conducting routine patrols to ensure security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific.